First of all, let me start of by wishing you a happy new year! Now that the best and busiest season for churches is over and you can breathe again, we decided we should reward all your hard work with the first PCO update of 2011!

Lyrics & Chords 2.0

Planning Center's built-in Chord Chart transposer (on any Song Arrangement page) has gotten a big update and has been renamed "Lyrics & Chords". The obvious addition is extended support for lyrics. If you put in lyrics with chords, Planning Center will make a chord chart PDF and an optional lyrics only PDF. If you input lyrics without chords,  you'll only get the lyrics PDF.

We've also rewritten our chord transposer to allow mid-song key changes and to permit any chord in any key.

In addition, we now support the Chord Pro format which allows you to attach chords directly to syllables for more consistent output. Type your chords between brackets right within the lyrics and use the new line preview to see exactly how it will print.

Planning Center also recognizes common song section headings and will apply special formatting. [Verse] or [Chorus] for example.

If you use our advanced "Attachment Types" feature, you can also link any attachment type with Planning Center's new Lyrics PDF, Chord Chart PDF, or Capoed Chord Chart PDF. The site owner can do this from the site settings page by editing Attachment Types. This allows you to have the Capoed Chord charts, for example, only appear for people scheduled to the Acoustic Guitar position.

Song Sequence

For each song arrangement you can now specify a sequence which is visible from plan view and is a new print option. In plan and print view, many of the sequence sections are abbreviated (Verse 1 becomes V1). You can also add your own custom sections at the bottom of the list.

For any of you wanting to add the sequence to your custom reports, use item.arrangement.sequence, and use item.arrangement.lyrics to add the lyrics.

Sequences aren't linked with our Lyrics & Chords feature, but we hope to do some fun things in the future. :)

A Little More

In the midst of all these other changes, we've also squeezed in 2 more. Until now, anywhere you did a search for a person, you had to had to type it "First Name, Last Name" or just "First Name". Now you can also use "First Name Last Name" and find the person you are looking for even easier. We've also added the ability to filter by permissions from the main people page.

Our Team

And now an exciting announcement (for me at least) that has nothing to do with new features. I (Aaron) have been working part time for Planning Center since I helped Jeff start it over 5 years ago, but my full-time job was as the Music Director for Central Christian Church in Las Vegas. As of January 1, I've swapped those roles and am full time with PCO and part time with my church. It was a difficult decision, but I'm very excited to continue to be deeply involved in music ministry at Central, while being available to put more time and energy into the development of PCO.

Speaking of new team members, we are looking for an awesome Ruby & Javascript Developer, so if you want to join me and the rest of our amazing team, click the blog post for more info.** **

Only the Beginning

That about does it for now, but there is an even bigger update right around the corner that I can't wait to roll out, just ask my friends Neo, Morpheus and Trinity. :)

2010 was a great year for us at PCO. We gained some great new team members, added tons of new features including Planning Center Music Stand with our first iPad app, and made Planning Center even more powerful and easy to use by redesigning half of the site. We love helping your ministry be on the cutting edge of technology & organization and look forward to pushing it even further in 2011!

Aaron Stewart Product Manager